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National Games of China 2017

Simply untouchable as Sun Yang wins 400m free by six seconds at National Games

China’s swimming superstar gets off to a flying start as he wins the first of his seven targeted golds in Tianjin, giving his rivals no chance in his pet event

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 August, 2017, 8:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 September, 2017, 1:00am

Star swimmer Sun Yang captured the first of his seven targeted gold medals at the National Games, winning the men’s 400 metre freestyle by a whopping six seconds in Tianjin on Thursday night.

The world champion was untouchable in his pet event that saw him win gold at the recent world championships in Budapest in July. His winning time of 3:41.94 was also very close to the 3:41.38 he clocked at the worlds.

Compatriot Xu Jiayu, another gold medallist in Budapest in the 100 metre backstroke, tipped before the final that Sun would easily win the race even if his rivals were given a five-second head start. Xu’s prophesy turned out to be true. Ji Xinjie of Shandong finished second in 3:47.52, while third place went to Qiu Ziao of Shanghai, who was another two seconds adrift in 3:49.52.

Sun’s coach said his charge felt “slightly tired” after feeling the effects of flu caused by standing in the rain while attending the opening ceremony on Sunday. Sun was flag bearer for his province Zhejiang.

Despite feeling under the weather, Sun, who clocked the fastest time in the heats in the morning, still gave his fellow countryman a lesson in the pool.

Sun will also take part in the 200 metres, 800 metres and 1,500 metres freestyle and three relays – 4x100 metres and 4x200 metres freestyle and the 4x100 metres medley relay.

He will team up with Kenneth To King-him of Hong Kong and two other Zhejiang swimmers in the 4x100 metres freestyle on Friday. They will face a tough challenge from Guangdong, who have recruited Ni Zetao from Henan for the relay.

Ni was the 2015 world champion in the 100 metres freestyle, the first Asian to win the sprinting discipline.